Monday, June 25, 2018

President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar Dancing on South Sudanese graves! *

Left: President Kiir;
Right: Dr. Riek Machar
"A child born the year South Sudan achieved independence will be 7 this year," wrote US ambassador to the United Nations in an opinion piece for Washington Post. As someone who grew up with the horrors of war, it's very sad that South Sudanese children still go through the same tragedies. A child who was born when the war started in 2013 will be going to Kindergarten this year. Sadly, all they will know is war unless Riek Machar and Kiir Mayardit develop moral hearts.

South Sudanese children are being born into what we were born into. However, the two protagonists of the civil war in South Sudan are toying with the lives of South Sudanese and the fate of the country. 


"A child born the year South Sudan achieved independence will be 7 this year." Nikki Haley


That President Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar first met in Addis Ababa on Wednesday after two years and then a few days later on Monday in Khartoum, is more than bizarre. What makes these meetings bizarre is the fact that these meetings are meant to prepare the two men to commit to peace. Why these two men should be convinced by foreign leaders to do something absolutely crucial for South Sudanese is incomprehensible and disheartening.

When Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, recently decried the suffering of South Sudanese, a prominent South Sudanese intellectual and scholar, Dr. Jok Madut Jok, questioned why Haley thinks she cares more about South Sudanese than South Sudanese themselves describing Haley tears as 'Trumpier than Trump." 



But given the political and power game Riek Machar and Kiir Mayardit are playing, it's difficult not to question our sense of responsibility to South Sudanese civilians and South Sudan as a country. We tend to focus on what others are saying than what Riek Machar, Kiir Mayardit, and their SPLM have done. If South Sudanese ended their war, people like ambassador Haley wouldn't have much to say.

It's very difficult to understand what President Kiir Mayardit and Dr. Riek Machar want, really. Many of you would say, 'duh', it's power! What else could it be?' While power is like the Marxian opioid, one would still expect reasonable concessions for the sake of the suffering South Sudanese.

However, the way Riek Machar and President Kiir have been acting lately makes one really question not only the moral consciousness of these two men but also their perception of reality in Africa and in South Sudan. One can understand the complexities involved in brokering peace; however, it's hard to understand why the two men need to go to two different capital cities within a few days to commit to peace in South Sudan? This is bizarre. A waste of time! A waste of resources!

But still, all we've got are promises. "We came to Khartoum to look for peace," said Riek. And Kiir said that "I came to this meeting with an open mind and hope my brother Riek did the same." 

That they don't care about South Sudanese and South Sudan is clear. Neither Riek Machar nor Kiir Mayardit has ever called a press conference to formally apologize to the people of South Sudan and to make sure people are held accountable for the atrocities committed. But no, President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar believe that verbally saying things amount to being a good leader and a conscious patriot. Until these leaders end the war, people like Haley will continue to take the moral high ground and for good reason: South Sudanese leaders are letting down their children and South Sudan.

 Any rational man who cares about his country and his people would value the importance of political compromises. That the two leaders cannot sit down without a mediator is indicative of the nature of their moral outlook and the extent to which power has blinded them. 

South Sudan will continue to bleed, to cry, to remain in destitution as it has been for the past 100 years.

As long as President Kiir and Riek Machar need a third party to convince them to do what is valuable to South Sudanese and South Sudan is a worry fact about the kind of leaders we have.

Power is an intoxicant. It gives people a 'high' that is not easy to avoid. That is understandable. However, President Kiir and Riek Machar should acknowledge more than half a century of the suffering of South Sudanese under the elite ruling class in Khartoum and centuries of dehumanization by slave traders. 

As Riek Machar and President Kiir continue to pay lip service to the South Sudanese and the world, they are digging the graves of South Sudanese and then dancing callously on them. President Kiir needs to dissociate himself from warmongers in Juba if he is indeed not the obstacle to peace. Riek on the hand needs to see what political concessions he should make because, in politics, concessions are as permanent as change.

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*Kuir ë Garang is the editor of The Philosophical Refugee. 


ON CULTURAL IDENTITY & BELONGING

Dear Melbournians, the South Sudanese people to be precise. Do you think we have seen it all? Do you think we have seen that: I mean in the aftermath of yesteryears, in regard to our culture and the notions around identity and belonging? Do you think we have seen the true reaping of what we sowed years ago? Do you really think so? After all, did we really sow anything like seeds and that there’s something to be reaped? Did we really live it out well to be seen today?

I am sorry to have bothered you, my potential readers, with questions regarding our social, economic, and political location in our host society: Australia. I think we have not seen it all and as a whole: The idea that people are bound by certain values and beliefs of significance to them. This requires cooperation and role-specific obligations on the roles of every man and woman across a given people and their society.

TOLERANCE & INCLUSION


While it is possible for us to racially discriminate or judge people we know, the chances of judging people we know diminish significantly the more we know them. An easy example of the importance of understanding others is the attitude people develop when they want to harm others or when they want to deny them something valuable. Essentially, before you fight someone, you insult them. Insults are attempts at diminishing the value of people, an attempt at estranging them, as Toni Morrison argued in The Origin of Others. It is easy to discriminate against strangers or make others strangers or dehumanized in order to discriminate against them.

Transformational Leadership, Inclusive Institutions and Service Provision

Leadership, given what is happening now in South Sudan, and generally in Africa, fascinates me. And it fascinates me not in a good way but because of the sociopolitical and socioeconomic ills facing the African continent and most of the so-called 'Third World.' To me, South Sudan, now, is a classic case.

Rebellion by disaffected politico-military leaders and repression by the government of South Sudan in Juba have stunted institutional development and leadership growth. This has made service provision almost irrelevant as political survival has taken primacy and supremacy. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

‘Black’ as an Identity Oversimplification and Mockery

Black as a universalized cultural identity of the African Person (AP)* is a residual effect of slave and colonial mentality; a racial/race paradigm. It is a malady I call, conservatively speaking, stuck-in-the-past syndrome of color constraints. Black could be an on-the-street ‘social identifier’ of race figures not a meaningful phenomenon of deep cultural identification on a universal scale.